Peninsula Planning Board: Vacation Rentals and Continued Controversy Over Jennings Street Project

by on October 25, 2017 · 3 comments

in Ocean Beach

By Geoff Page

The Peninsula Community Planning Board held its regular monthly meeting at the Point Loma library Thursday, October 19. The agenda was light with only one action item but there were a few other items of interest to the community worth relating.

Probably the most contentious item, the one real action item that was discussed, didn’t get contentious because there was no need for immediate action that night.

Short Term Vacation Rentals

This was a presentation of the Zapf and Bry draft ordinance to put some controls on short term vacation rentals more commonly referred to as STVRs.  The title of the draft ordinance is “Short Term Occupancy and Home Sharing Use Ordinance.”

The gist of this ordinance is that it allows property owners to rent out their homes for no more than 90 days a year, which can be seen at the bottom of ordinance’s first page.  The idea is that this would put an end to businesses that are buying up available housing stock and using it full time as STVRs.

Conrad Wear presented the ordinance for Zapf’s office.  He informed the audience that this ordinance and others were originally scheduled to be discussed at the October 23rd city council meeting but that had changed.  City Attorney Mara Elliott had presented councilmembers with opinions on the proposals and noted a number of problems.  Apparently, the councilmembers had not scheduled to have the City Attorney review the drafts before they docketed the STVR discussions.

Mara Elliott provided an opinion dated March 15, 2017, that stated STVRs are not legal in any zone, which was not the opinion of our previous, politically biased city attorney. [See below] The ordinances proposed by Zapf and Bry and another by a different group of councilmembers, will need to be looked at again so they were pulled from the City Council docket and there was no need for the PCPB to act yet.

Jennings Street Project Opposition Claims Harassment from Developer

The one item that did generate some lengthy discussion came up during the non-agenda public comment part of the meeting when anyone can get up and speak on any topic not on the agenda.

Janet Axtater got up and spoke, for what was the third time before the board, about opposition to the project at 3424 and 3434 Jennings Street.  This project came before the Board in July of this year and the resultant voting fiasco was related in the July OB Rag story on that meeting.  The problem was that the board voted both against denying approval for the project and voted against approving the project.

Ms. Axtater led the original opposition and was unsatisfied by the Board’s lack of a real decision. She spoke about the project at the September board meeting and asked that the item be placed back on the agenda so a real decision could be rendered.

For reasons that are unknown at this time, the item was not added to the agenda.  Ms. Axtater was at the October meeting to make this request again.  She related to the Board that she received a threatening letter from the developer’s counsel in an attempt to quiet her opposition to their project.  The attorney went so far as to send a copy of his letter to Ms. Axtater’s employer.  These are the tactics that give developers a bad name.  Ms. Axtater was not intimidated by this action and vowed to continue the opposition.

Board members discussed what to do because the item could not be discussed without the Jennings project applicant being there as well.  There was some doubt as to whether or not the applicant would come back for another round.  Board members were in favor of adding the item to the November agenda and stated they would use the time in between to contact the applicant and invite them back.  If they decline, there would probably be no reason to hear it again.  The applicant could continue the development process with the non-decision the PCPB came to and the opposition could continue in an appeal process if necessary.

Sewer and Water Replacement Project on Canon Street

The last item of interest was a presentation by the City of San Diego’s Public Works Department about a sewer and water replacement project that was to begin this week.  Because a big section of the work will be on Canon Street, a major connector between the upper part of the Peninsula and the Point Loma Village to the south and the Navy base at the end of Catalina Blvd., the work could cause some serious disruptions.  The work will take between six months and a year to complete.  The work on Canon will be from Akron Street north around the curve to Ullman Street.  See the project details below.  [See below]


City Attorney Mara Elliott Memo:


Sewer and Water Replacement Project on Canon Street


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Janet Axtater October 28, 2017 at 4:50 pm

Hi Geoff,
Was your understanding at the October PCPB meeting that the board members actually “voted” to bring the Jenning’s Street project back in November? That was my interpretation but now I am being told they did not actually vote and to follow the Administrative Guidelines they need to vote to in order tobring the project back. So, that is what they intend to do in November…vote to decide if they want to re-vote! If they decide to re-vote, it will be the very next action item on the agenda. Also, I understood that if the applicant did not want to attend the meeting, they would still re-vote because the decision to bring it back to the board, negates the original non-decision votes. Let me know what you think! Thanks!


Geoff Page October 30, 2017 at 11:48 am

Hey Janet, It was my understanding that Board member David Dick would request that the chair put it on the agenda for November. The board didn’t actually vote, there was nothing to vote on. They discussed it and generally agreed they were willing to have it on the agenda. The process you described is stated as follows in the Administrative Guidelines to Council Policy 600-24:

“When a community planning group wants to revote on a matter originally voted upon at a prior meeting due to project revisions or new information, a motion to reverse or modify a previous position at a subsequent meeting can be made by any member. The decision to re-vote on a development project precedes the actual vote on the matter. If approved, the project would be placed on the next community planning group agenda and any interested individual who had appeared for the prior project vote should be made aware by the group about the new agenda date. The project applicant should be made aware and invited to the meeting, and the Development Project Manager [who likely had received the group’s first project vote] should be notified of the pending action.”

This one is a little sticky for two reasons. First, there is no new information and there are no project revisions that are causing the re-vote. Second, the Board didn’t actually come to a decision the first time having voted against denying or approving the project. As such, there is nothing to reverse or modify. I think the board could just decide to put it on the agenda in November with the explanation that the Board wants to correct its past indecision and came to real decision one way or the other. We don’t know if the PCPB sent in the vote to the city as they are supposed to after voting on a project. If they did, then the applicant can just move on without participating. The Board may be able to do this without the applicant but I’m not sure abut that.

But, if they vote to re-vote, the item goes on the next meeting agenda in January.


Janet Axtater November 6, 2017 at 11:06 am

Hi Geoff, thanks for the response. That is what the board basically said when they advised, via e-mail, they would not be adding to the Nov agenda. I countered with the “substantial revision” to the plans as they originally proposed the sidewalk only running along 3434 so they could leave the pine trees along 3424. The city rejected this and the sidewalk has to run across both properties and the lots will be 100% graded. I consider that a substantial revision especially because when the applicants presented they noted the pine trees were a key feature on the project. A few board members also commented that they did not know why it could not be brought back for a re-vote. So, fortunately for us, they will be adding 2 action items to the agenda 1) discuss whether to re-vote and come to a decision 2) if the decision is to re-vote, then they will re-vote. The applicants have been notified. And, no, the city never received a formal decision from the board.
See you in November! And, thanks, again. Janet


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